Where the beginning of Odyssey began slowly and ramped up, the end of Odyssey came abruptly. One day we were at lecture and critiques, had a graduation party that evening. The next day…nothing.
I wandered around, feeling lost, confused, pacing because my mind and body felt as if it was supposed to be doing something specific.
This was my life for six long weeks. I lived and breathed on Odyssey time. If I wasn’t attending lecture, I was reading a story to critique. If I wasn’t at a critique session, I was writing a story. If I wasn’t doing any of those things, I was working on a journal entry.
It got to the point where my daughter no longer asked me for tuck-ins at night. Six weeks of dad giving her nightly kisses. Six weeks of mom being locked in her office or buried in her computer or taking a walk with printed-out critique story and pencil took its toll. [I’m please to say that it only took another six-eight weeks for me to become the nightly requested tuck-in-er once more :)]
In terms of my writing, and all the things associated, my first week off Odyssey I did really well. Got back into the swing of things, went into writing-mode immediately M-F. Only, then I went on vacation, had the vacation cut short because of a hurricane and felt…morose. Partly because that vacation had been something I’d considered my reward and partly because suddenly I was smacked with all the things I’d let slide for two months.
I work on two pen names at once, so the list I compiled of projects to finish suddenly felt astronomical. Both blogs needed attention and posts; a novella needed finishing; promo work for a novel needed to be done; my submission number had dropped to a measly 1-2 out and stories desperately needed to be sent out; I had a stack of stories from Odyssey and before that needed editing; another novel to start preparing to write; my house was a complete wreck; my book club needed to meet; I was behind on reading I’d wanted to do; school was starting and would be at home; family felt partially abandoned by me and needed time and attention; and I’d agreed to do small extra things, like critiques & practice sessions that were now on the calendar; …I began to get that frozen feeling ones does when they feel like nothing you do will get you closer to finishing that goddamned elephant. Continue reading
Posted in Odyssey Workshop
Tagged fantasy, fiction, flash, graduate, novel, reading, sci-fi, science-fiction, short story, workshop, writing
The stories for this week are both about possibility. They’re about what might have been or what might be.
SHE’D NEVER HAD A NAME BEFORE by J. R. Dawson is a story about a woman who meets the sister she never had, the two of them from neighboring universes. They discover parallels about themselves and their lives. At its core, this tale delves into what-ifs in a literal sense, touching on what-could-have-beens had things been just a little different. Published in Lightspeed Magazine.
YOUR OWN UNDOING by P. H. Lee is a second person narrative where a familiar takes on different shapes in order to sneak in where their witch is being kept. They tell her a story, the story of her life, pushing her to understand what is real and what is story. This is a dark tale with a beautiful metaphor. Published in Apex Magazine.
Posted in Recommendation
Tagged apex, fantasy, fiction, j r dawson, lightspeed, p h lee, prose, reading, Recommendation, science-fiction, short story
And here we are! Brand new graduates! Survivalists! Word-Wizards!
I wanted to say a few things/memories about everyone, maybe show you how they’re people and not just faces :)
TOP ROW (Lf-Rt):
Jeanne – our fearless, ingenious leader. Ever insisting that a character’s uppance is coming. Always giving us one-on-one encouragement. Never allowing us to wallow in despair. A taskmaster. But a kind one, who sees and acknowledges our development and progress.
Adam – Out of all of us, he was the one who liked to move around, his background changing to another part of his house now and then. He had a huge amount of energy during a Conan reading! That could not be forgotten for the rest of the workshop as people would tap him to read passages of passion. I’m pretty sure he’s a borderlands fan and he’s been giving us all marketing tips as that’s part of his background.
Ola – My virtual roommate! We got to talk before the workshop started and would chat in private messages (but only during casual conversation time, of course). She lives in New York City, is incredibly organized and super driven. She commemorates aspects of her experiences in script tattoos on her wrist (that I thought were bracelets at first) and I find that to be an amazing way to keep those experiences alive. [She has also started a brand-new pro-paying magazine called khōréō magazine that has a focus on elevating stories of immigrants and those affected by diaspora, so be sure to give it a check!] Continue reading
Posted in Odyssey Workshop
Tagged critique, fantasy, fiction, flash, mentor, novel, reading, sci-fi, science-fiction, short story, story, students, teacher, workshop, writing
Both stories this week are on the longer side, the two of them taking the time to deal with resistance against tyranny.
MY LOVE OUR LADY SLAUGHTER by Christine Lucas takes place on Mars, in a setting that feels science-fantasy, where certain people have the capability of inter-body telekinesis and are set apart, healing wounded without regard to which side of a war they fight. When found, they are forced to take a stand to protect their own morals and each other. Published in Strange Horizons 2020.
GIRLS WITH NEEDLES AND FROST by Jenny Rae Rappaport is a tale about seamstresses who slowly, slowly build a revolution against their oppressors. What I love about this story is that it acknowledges the humanity in the oppressors while maintaining the need for the oppressed to rise up. There’s also something metaphorically wonderful about the summoning of a dragon that can represent the congregation of the people finally being able to stand together. Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2020.
It’s hard to squeeze everything into these posts. It really is. I scarcely went a day where I didn’t get on Zoom or upload a critique. So these are just a few additional things that didn’t warrant getting an entire blog post to themselves but I thought might be nice to mention:
Before Odyssey began, all of us got our own specialized box of snacks to tide us over through lectures and Q&A sessions. Brain food for our writing times. One of the snacks I got was a bag of lollipops that I kept over in my office because they wouldn’t require me to brush anything off my braces, so that was greatly appreciated.
During Odyssey, I also received a bookmark as a reward for completing the entire first week’s journal entries. That, uh, never happened again. My journal entries became last on my list often and I’d scrape by with three completed a week. I also noticed that the journal entries that I’d gravitate toward were the ones I really enjoyed doing and, consequently, probably the ones I needed to do the least.
We would have weekly check-ins with our resident Odyssey supervisor, Amy Katherine Black (or A.Kat Black). These were random small groups of us and we would sometimes chat for 5 minutes, sometimes for 20. They were meant to be a way for us to get to know one another better despite not being physically at St. Anselm’s, but many of us would have loved more opportunities to have small conversations among just each other.
At the tail end of Odyssey, we crafted a Slack group just for our year’s graduates, where we can chat, remind each other to accomplish our goals, to motivate one another. It’s been a pleasant experience, getting to keep in touch with everyone and I’m incredibly glad for it.
<3 Marie C.
Posted in Odyssey Workshop
Tagged crit, critique, family, fantasy, fiction, flash, novel, reading, reward, sci-fi, science-fiction, short story, workshop, writing